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Old 09-07-2014, 01:33 PM
 
Location: Old Bellevue, WA
18,794 posts, read 14,293,102 times
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According to this, 31.3 percent of new vehicles sold are either 4WD or AWD. Sometimes I wonder if that number should not be closer to 10% or even 5%. My last 4 vehicles have been 4WD. Only one of them really needed to be, and that was a Subaru that I used to frequently drive out to logging trails (Seattle area) to explore, and to do a little target shooting.

I had a Jeep Liberty w/ manual transmission, and it was great in snow. Here in the Seattle area we had a
great snowstorm in 2008. It was great for that one week to be one of the few, the proud, who made it in to work. But I never took it off road, so that was one week out of several years of ownership where the 4wd came in handy.

I do remember a story in Seattle where a mom drove into some freshly-laid concrete and flipped her Hyundai SUV into 4wd to get out of it, so you never know. But I think that the vast majority of 4WD vehicles sold could have been 2wd and saved the buyer in purchase price, fuel economy, and repair costs.
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Old 09-07-2014, 01:38 PM
 
Location: UpstateNY
8,612 posts, read 8,315,799 times
Reputation: 7524
No way, with 90+ inches of snow a year here it is required. My 4WD has saved my arse dozens of times.
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Old 09-07-2014, 01:58 PM
 
32,503 posts, read 26,398,194 times
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since 1958 my family has only ever had one four wheel drive vehicle, a 68 jeep wagoneer. we have never really had a need fo rit. i have thought about buying a four wheel drive occasionally though.
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Old 09-07-2014, 02:15 PM
 
Location: IN
20,863 posts, read 35,998,811 times
Reputation: 13305
Quote:
Originally Posted by wutitiz View Post
According to this, 31.3 percent of new vehicles sold are either 4WD or AWD. Sometimes I wonder if that number should not be closer to 10% or even 5%. My last 4 vehicles have been 4WD. Only one of them really needed to be, and that was a Subaru that I used to frequently drive out to logging trails (Seattle area) to explore, and to do a little target shooting.

I had a Jeep Liberty w/ manual transmission, and it was great in snow. Here in the Seattle area we had a
great snowstorm in 2008. It was great for that one week to be one of the few, the proud, who made it in to work. But I never took it off road, so that was one week out of several years of ownership where the 4wd came in handy.

I do remember a story in Seattle where a mom drove into some freshly-laid concrete and flipped her Hyundai SUV into 4wd to get out of it, so you never know. But I think that the vast majority of 4WD vehicles sold could have been 2wd and saved the buyer in purchase price, fuel economy, and repair costs.
New AWD (Subaru) vehicles get much better MPG (mid 30s highway for the standard base engine) and are quite efficient for that they do, just one of the many reasons why the brand continues to post very fast sales growth in the US. I live in the Snowbelt, so AWD, while not a requirement, certainly is a nice thing to have.
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Old 09-07-2014, 02:20 PM
 
Location: OH>IL>CO>CT
5,247 posts, read 8,430,817 times
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The same issue is overblown in Colorado. There is a thread in the CO forum right now re someone concerned about coming from out of state and being "told" they must have 4WD. Unless you are going seriously off-road, driving on snow and ice has more to do with drivers skill than 4WD. In my over 35 years in CO, if cars were sliding off into the ditch, 4 out of 5 would be 4WDs. And 4WD is no help at all for stopping. (even ABS is marginal help, IMHO)

It certainly seems like more and more; people expect their lack of interest in learning how to do anything, to be made up for by some mechanical or electronic device.. Oh well...........

Also I think a lot of SUVs that happen to come with 4WD are sold because the owner really only needed what we used to call a "station wagon", but that's so "last century" they just can't face their friends with one.
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Old 09-07-2014, 02:25 PM
 
11,256 posts, read 43,472,599 times
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Living in snow/ice country, the AWD is more than a convenience, it's a way of life for many times each winter. For much of my travels, RWD could be (and was for many years) adequate. But full time AWD has a much better safety margin in traffic, better control when driving on slick surfaces. The 10% of the time when it is highly beneficial is worth it to me. For example, the last 1 1/2 miles to one of my houses in Vail is a steep hill, west facing. Fairly frequently, it's iced up. In years past, I had to chain up my RWD cars to make it up the hill and my steep driveway to park at the house. Now I just drive up to the house with a minimum of fuss.

As well, my 4x4 3/4 ton pick-up trucks do yeoman service for my farm/ranch operations. There's been many trips around the region where the 4x4 made the difference between being able to complete a trip and not. For example, we recently adopted/rescued two burros from a BLM facility about 120 miles from our place. The trailer pulled very nicely for the first 100 miles on paved roads, but then we turned onto the unimproved ranch road for 20 miles from the end of the pavement to the BLM corrals. There was little more than a two-track there, and it had rained recently, turning the tracks into slick ruts. Without the 4x4, we'd not have pulled the trailer to the corrals or the 20 miles back out to the highway.

One might assert that I really only use the AWD and/or 4x4 5-10% of the driving that I do. So be it, there's more than one trip where that 5% was the difference between being able to safely and reliably complete the trip in comfort rather than not having been able to complete the trip.
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Old 09-07-2014, 02:42 PM
 
Location: IN
20,863 posts, read 35,998,811 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reed303 View Post
The same issue is overblown in Colorado. There is a thread in the CO forum right now re someone concerned about coming from out of state and being "told" they must have 4WD. Unless you are going seriously off-road, driving on snow and ice has more to do with drivers skill than 4WD. In my over 35 years in CO, if cars were sliding off into the ditch, 4 out of 5 would be 4WDs. And 4WD is no help at all for stopping. (even ABS is marginal help, IMHO)

It certainly seems like more and more; people expect their lack of interest in learning how to do anything, to be made up for by some mechanical or electronic device.. Oh well...........

Also I think a lot of SUVs that happen to come with 4WD are sold because the owner really only needed what we used to call a "station wagon", but that's so "last century" they just can't face their friends with one.
There is an enormous difference between a highly reputable AWD system (Subaru & Audi) for snow handling compared to any random vehicle with 4WD. Night and day difference.
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Old 09-07-2014, 03:01 PM
 
4,445 posts, read 3,539,539 times
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Plus Subarus have really good mileage so no mileage penalty anymore with their AWD system
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Old 09-07-2014, 03:21 PM
 
Location: MN
3,182 posts, read 2,963,472 times
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It's better to have it and not need it, then need it and not have it. I need it with my job of plowing snow in parking lots and driveways. Our roads often get packed down with snow and ice, and I hate it when I have no traction accerating, so I use it often in the winter. I'll never buy a 2wd truck (zero resale value here for one) or SUV. I didn't even know they sold 2wd Grand Cherokees until a few years ago visiting in LA.
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Old 09-07-2014, 03:23 PM
 
4,232 posts, read 6,069,922 times
Reputation: 10095
Overhyped only if it has a subaru badge
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